Christian Iddon’s hopes of lifting this year’s Bennetts British Superbike Championship ended at Brands Hatch but although the VisionTrack Ducati rider slipped to fourth overall, he was able to reflect on a season that had more highs than lows.
However, the year did end on a low note when he suffered ‘probably the biggest crash I’ve ever had’ after being collected by Danny Buchan on the way into Paddock Hill Bend on the last lap of the last race of 2021.
Prior to that, he’d been running in third place as he had done for pretty much all weekend and he admitted there were feelings of frustration with not being able to fight as he’d have liked, and hoped, at the final round.
“I went into the weekend with high hopes and aspirations after a good run in the Showdown so it was so frustrating for it to end in the way that it did,” he reflected later.
“As riders, we all talk the talk but we can all do it; some weekends you have the pace, some you don’t and it all came down to which one of the four of us had the pace at Brands. On this occasion, it was Tarran and Tommy that had that bit more than Jason and myself.
“I tried everything to go with them in each of the three races but just didn’t have the one or two-tenths that I needed. I was suffering with a huge amount of spin and whilst you never know what others riders are experiencing, you always feel that yours is worse than theirs!
“I did all that I could but it was all but impossible to go with them and it was pretty soul destroying to watch them continually edge away when you’re giving it everything you possibly can. You’re all in and doing everything within your power but it’s still not happening.
“I felt like I rode well all weekend so hats off to Taz and Tommy. I can only control the controllables – i.e. me – and can’t control what other riders do. They did a really good job on the weekend so fair play.”
After taking third and fourth in the first two races, Iddon looked on course for another third place in the final race before being taken out by Buchan and, unseen on TV cameras, it resulted in a huge high-side and a high-speed and frightening looking trip through the gravel and into the safety fencing.
“I literally knew nothing about what happened and had the back end taken clean away from me. It led to a massive high-side and although I didn’t hit my head, I felt really groggy afterwards but apart from a small break in my hand, I was lucky to get away with it. I’m hurting all over though and definitely gave myself a good rattle!”
In a weekend that opened with him looking to become champion, it resulted in him dropping from third to fourth in the championship table although with two wins and 13 podiums in total, there were still plenty of positives, especially true given the super competitive and intense season that it was.
“I finished one place lower than what I did in 2020 but I felt it was a stronger year for me overall so there’s a lot of satisfaction to be had. I had a bit of a blip mid-season but I was quite sick at the time which no-one really knew about. I kept it all under wraps but that’s no excuse.
“There were a lot of missed opportunities though. I crashed out of a podium position on my own accord on two occasions whilst I was taken out in another three races, again when in podium positions, and that all adds up massively to a lot of missed points.
“Cadwell was the only place where I really struggled for pace but even on the hard days, Snetterton being one, I take heart in the fact that I gave everything I could. Things started to come together again coming into the Showdown and momentum was back with us. It got to the point where I was scrapping again, which is what I expected and what the team expected.”
A couple of other riders, and most definitely one, will also have felt that 2021 was a missed opportunity but Iddon believes he learnt a lot during the year and that will stand him in good stead going forward.
“I learnt quite a bit about myself both on and off the track and whilst there are a lot of riders in BSB who can run the pace – the talent level is fantastic – there aren’t that many who can do it week in, week out. I was one of the four that could do that in 2021. I take heart from that and will keep that in the pocket for next year where it will be a new start for everyone.”